Are humans a 'plague on the Earth'?
Beloved nature commentator David Attenborough says he has the key to solving climate change and other threats: Limit population growth.
David Attenborough has been called one of England's national treasures for his work hosting natural history programs on television, but his latest remarks might offend many of his fans.
Humans "are a plague on the Earth," Attenborough, 86, told the Radio Times magazine.
Climate change and food shortages are due to human overpopulation, he said.
His prescription for solving the problem? "Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,” he said.
Attenborough, who was knighted in the 1980s, has made his views on population growth known before. He became a supporter of the group Population Matters in 2009, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph.
Population Matters supports "working for a global population size providing a good standard of living for all and environmental sustainability," and runs campaigns supporting family planning, free- or low-cost contraception and limiting free in-vitro fertilization to people without children, according to its website.
In his latest comments, Attenborough suggested that TV programs highlighting the plight of Africans suffering from famine are part of the problem.
"We keep putting on programs about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves -- and it’s not an inhuman thing to say. It’s the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse," he said.
His comments are spurring some debate and disagreement, with Bjorn Lomborg, the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," telling the Telegraph that Attenborough's Malthusian views are outdated.
"We have dramatically more people but also ways to make agriculture more productive on less land," Lomborg said.
He added that it's a "human-hating" point of view to believe that the only way to save the earth's species is to reduce the human population.
The earth's population was estimated to have hit 7 billion in October, with more than half of those people born within the last 40 years.
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The Population Bomb,
Dr Paul Erlich's 1969 seminal work by the same name was something of a follow-up to the 19th century treatise on food production and runaway population growth by Thomas Malthus. The human race is, without equivocation, running headlong into a planet-wide crises that may very well be unavoidable. Even with agricultural advances via technology humans can do only so much to feed its burgeoning population. The Earth currently has a net gain of about 93 Million people per annum, or roughly the population of two Australias added to the surface of the planet each and every year. This planet's resources of potable water, clean air, arable land, ocean life, timber, natural energy etc are all finite, and everything is being consumed at alarmingly faster rates because of the needs of unchecked human population growth. It is clearly not a sustainable scenario. David Attenborough, (and Pogo) are correct ... "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Peace to all ~
Population control is one way to deal with the problems that present themselves, but it is just one way. There are many ways available for humans to sustain themselves on the planet indefinitely and preserve the planet. And, I'd rather see intellectuals work together to find solutions, rather than compete with eachother, and enjoy hearing themselves preach.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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